Komo among Tagwa-Senufo Peoples in Southwest Burkina Faso

by Boureima T. Diamitani
West African Museums Programme

Burkina FasoCôte d’Ivoire, and MaliSenufo peoples

Kponyungo (funeral head mask)


L. 83.5 cm (32 7/8”)

University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, The Stanley Collection, X1986.158

The Dyula called these peoples Sena-kan-fola, or those who speak the Sena language (Tiona Ouattara, pers. comm., 1991).  Later the term became Senafola, and finally Senufo.  The French (e.g., Binger 1892; Delafosse 1909), like the Dyula, gave the name "Senufo" to all the people living in the area because of the similarities in their languages, traditions, and customs.  The colonial administration (Delafosse 1909) adopted the term Senufo and spread its usage in the region. Nowadays, the Senufo themselves often use this term because that is the way outsiders know them, but among themselves revert to their original names.